How to Make Cheap Anti-Aging Supplements

There are a number of supplements that are marketed as having anti-aging activity, and that are expensive. The two that are best-known to me are Protandim and Longevinex. But let’s see how to make cheap anti-aging supplements.

Protandim and Nrf2

Protandim is marketed as “The Nrf2 Synergizer”, since it up-regulates the cellular stress defense mechanisms via the Nrf2 (nuclear erythroid factor 2) system.(1) When Nrf2 is activated, the so-called phase 2 enzymes are produced; these include catalase, superoxide dismutase, and various enzymes that catalyze metabolism of xenobiotics, including drugs. Notably included in the phase 2 group is ferritin, which captures free iron and prevents it from doing damage. They prevent oxidative stress, cancer, and probably lots of other maladies of aging.(2)

The Nrf2 system is up-regulated by contact with foreign molecules that need detoxifying. Hence it can be seen that this sytem is involved in hormesis, in which low doses of a toxin or other input such as exercise or fasting produce beneficial health effects.

The ingredients in Protandim promote hormesis. They include milk thistle extract, bacopa extract (whatever that is), ashwaghanda, turmeric extract (i.e. curcumin), and green tea extract.

As it happens, I’m already taking two of these, curcumin and green tea extract, which is what inspired this post.

Protandim retails at Amazon for just under $35 for 30 capsules, or a one-month supply. Seems to me that this could be done a lot cheaper.

Longevinex and calorie restriction

Longevinex is another supplement in the same arena. It claims to be designed to mimic calorie restriction, the robust life extension intervention. (Many of the benefits and few of the downsides of calorie restriction can be obtained through intermittent fasting.)

The ingredients of a capsule of Longevinex are vitamin D3 (1000 IU), and 244 mg of a proprietary blend of resveratrol (at 100 mg per capsule), unknown quantities of inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), quercetin, chlorogenic acid, green tea extract, and “nucleotides”.

Longevinex retails for about the same price as Protandim, or about $34 for a 30-day supply. Their new product, Advantage, retails for $50 a month.

Let’s say I wanted to both activate my Nrf2 system and mimic calorie restriction using these premium products. That could cost me a minimum of $70 a month, or $840 a year. Also keep in mind that most people buying these products don’t know much or even anything about their ingredients, and probably think of these products as unique or magical. (Not that they aren’t backed by science; they are.)

My cheap anti-aging supplements

As it happens, in my rotation of supplements I have curcumin, green tea extract, IP6, and resveratrol, providing many of the ingredients of both of these. Chlorogenic acid, an ingredient of Longevinex, is found abundantly in coffee, and may provide many of its benefits. And I do drink coffee.

Many of these are cheap. IP6 in bulk is about $20 for 250 grams (over half a pound); at 500 mg a day, that will last 500 days. Green tea extract is $14 for 250 capsules, and since I don’t take one even every day, that should last a year.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Curcumin is the only one that’s relatively expensive, but even here, at $26 for 120 capsules, and not taken every day, that will last quite awhile.

It’s worth noting that neither proprietary supplement contains aspirin, which not only may be the most potent anti-aging drug available, but is dirt cheap. I take aspirin too.

So, we see that expensive, propietary anti-aging supplements can easily be, if not duplicated, at least reasonably imitated with cheap OTC, generic supplements.

Is it possible that we’re not getting all of the benefits of Protandim and Longevinex because some of the ingredients are missing? Sure, it’s possible. I’m not taking milk thistle, ashwaghanda, or quercetin.

But is it likely we’re missing any of the benefits? That seems highly doubtful to me.

For one thing, I already practice an intervention that mimics calorie restriction, namely intermittent fasting. I also exercise, another hormetic process.

Maybe more importantly, I drink coffee, tea, and red wine, and eat chocolate, which provide high levels of dietary polyphenols and greatly lower disease risk. I have difficulty believing that the other ingredients in the two proprietary supplements would add anything of value to what I already do.

I also eat vegetables, especially broccoli, onions, peppers, and the like, which strongly up-regulate the Nrf2 system. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are known to have a strong anti-cancer effect. Again, given my intake of these and other dietary components high in hormetic constituents – like the aforementioned coffee, etc. – it’s doubtful that Protandim and/or Longevinex would add in any appreciable way to the health benefits I already get.

So, instead of spending beaucoup bucks on Protandim and Longevinex, consider doing it my way, the cheap way. It will likely provide more and better anti-aging effects anyway.

PS: Check out my books, Dumping Iron, Muscle Up, and Stop the Clock.

PS: Check out my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.


Leave a Comment:

Simon says April 3, 2016

So when is “manganex” due to hit the shelves? Put me down for 500 capsules.

Have you considered doing online longevity/fitness consultations by the way? Not sure if you want the extra workload, but you’ve got a lot to offer in this area, could be a nice income supplement (as we’re on the topic of supplements already…)

    P. D. Mangan says April 3, 2016

    “Manganex” – good one! I have considered consulting, and that could be a good direction for me. Having written books gives you “authority”; in fact, promoters of self-publishing often say that getting authority from writing books is the best way to make money from them, via consulting, giving speeches, etc.

Stephen Werner says April 3, 2016

“…bacopa extract (whatever that is)…”

Bacopa Monnieri (AKA Velvet Bean) –

Stephen Werner says April 3, 2016

As a broccoli lover, it’s sulphoraphane that does the hormetic work –

Roland says April 3, 2016

Is there anything wrong with the spice curcumin bought from the supermarket (Austria)? Just pure yellow curcumin powder (not the ready mix curry powder!) – or is this any different? Costs me less than € 2.- for a 45g jar and lasts me well over a couple months. I add it with freshly ground black pepper into food or, if I haven’t done so for several days, I also just mix it into a (very small) glass of water with pepper and gulp it down.

    P. D. Mangan says April 4, 2016

    Hi Roland. No, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. The difference is that turmeric (which is what I think you mean) is only from 5 to 8% curcumin. The capsules I take are 95% curcumin at 500 mg. So you’d need maybe 12 g of turmeric to get that much. Maybe if you eat a lot of curry it could be done! If you’re young and healthy, the amounts of curcumin you get may be fine; but if you’re looking specifically for health effects or to treat an ailment, I would get the concentrated supplement.

      Pieter Christiaens says February 6, 2017

      Hi Dennis, nice article! Is there an issue if I take 1 or 2g of curcumin? I put it in my food and the dosage is higher than half a gram.

        P. D. Mangan says February 6, 2017

        Hi Pieter. No, I doubt there’s a problem with that. Some of the clinical studies have people taking 500 mg 3x a day, and if I recall correctly, some of the studies have them taking many grams daily. It seems altogether a very safe supplement.

Tuba says April 4, 2016

The Bacopa in question is Bacopa monnieri, also called water hyssop. It’s a common plant in warmer areas of the earth including the southern United States. Extremely bitter, there is at least one double blind study out of Australia in which 325mg (dried) a day over 12 weeks permanently improved the memory and executive function of 65-year-olds with some mental clarity issues. Also in a 2012 study it “cured” Alzheimer’s in mice by eliminating the beta amyloid plague. It can be harvested from the wild or bought at the health food store as Bacopa. It will also grow readily in any damp area you might have around your home.

Tuba says April 4, 2016

Velvet Bean? I don’t think so. If some site is calling Bacopa monniere “velvet Bean” it is an ignorant site. B.monniere does not produce a bean. It does not look like a plant in any bean family, nor does it look like Velvet Bean which is Mucuna pruriens. Indeed, if anything B. monnieri resembles an all-green, half-size Portulaca oleracea (the common purslane though it’s blossoms are quite different than Purslane.) Also B. monnieri likes very damp environments and can thrive even when inundated with 18 inches of clear water.

fnd says April 5, 2016

Do Omega 3 capsules have any good benefits or it’s just bullshit?

B says April 15, 2016

What do you think of this article?

“Opposing action of curcumin and green tea polyphenol in human keratinocytes.”

In that light, would it make sense to take green tea extract in the morning, and curcumin at night?

    P. D. Mangan says April 15, 2016

    The article seems OK, probably minor in my opinion, but yes, you could take GTE and curcumin at different times to negate any of these effects.

moringa says April 15, 2016

cruciferous veggies are not goitrogenic, very bad for the thyroid?

    P. D. Mangan says April 16, 2016

    In large amounts and eaten raw, they could be, otherwise doubtful.

Michael Dowling says April 29, 2016

I was taking Longevinex for several years,but then it occurred to me I had no proof it actually contained what the box said it did,and I couldn’t find any data about it from legit sources online,so I stopped buying it. I regularly consume coffee,tea,red wine and dark chocolate now.

Add Your Reply